Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Human Development and Family Studies

Department name when degree awarded

Family and Child Development

Committee Chair(s)

Jay D. Schvaneveldt


Jay D. Schvaneveldt


Don Carter


Morris Mower


The purpose of this study was focused in two specific objectives: (1) to determine attitudes of professionals, namely pediatricians, general practitioners, and orthodontists toward the use of the oral pacifier; and (2) to determine the attitudes of primiparous mothers toward the use of the pacifier.

The mothers were chosen from the r1cKay-Dee Hospital in Oqden, Utah. They were divided into three groups: (1) 17 mothers with three-month- old babies, (2) 15 mothers with six-month-old babies, and (3 ) 15 mothers with nine-month-old babies, for a total of 47 mothers.

The professionals were divided into three groups: pediatricians, 10 general practitioners, and 9 orthodontists, for a total of 26 professionals.

An instrument was developed to measure the attitudes toward the use of the oral pacifier, thumbsucking, and the consequences of their use. The instrument was called the Infant Oral Behavior Scale.

The hypotheses for the study were tested and sustained as follows:

1. The pacifier is interpreted as a positive non-nutritive device in child rearing.

2. The pacifier is preferred by physicians and orthodontists to prevent any malocclusion and other oral problems caused by thumbsucking.

3. The pacifier is preferred by mothers in soothing fretful and colicky babies.

The Infant Oral Behavior Scale proved to be a useful instrument as indicated by item analysis of the scale. All but 5 of the 30 items discriminated between the high and low scores.

Thirty-six of the 47 mothers breast fed their infants an average of 11 to 13 weeks. Thirty-two of the 47 mothers bottle fed their infants. Many of the mothers favored both the breast and the bottle in nourishing their infants. Thirty- four of the 47 mothers gave their infants an oral pacifier for an average length of 11 to 28 weeks. Physicians had recommended the use of the oral pacifier to 8 of the 34 mothers who used the pacifier. Of the 34 infants using a pacifier, 10 sucked their thumbs. Twenty-four of the infants did not suck their thumbs after using an oral pacifier. Eleven infants sucked their thumbs who had not been given an oral pacifier. The average length of thumbsucking of these infants was 6 to 32 weeks.

Twenty-one of the 26 professionals personally preferred infants to be breast fed. Two professionals personally preferred the infant to be bottle fed and three professionals believed it was the mother's choice, depending on her personality, age, and other factors. Professionally, 18 professionals preferred breast feeding while 4 preferred infants to be bottle fed. Four believed this was an individual choice of the mothers.